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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thoughtful gesture saves sales

Daniel Smith represents Strokes of Genius Painting in Ottawa. He set up a last minute display at the Ottawa Home and Design Show in early October and reported that he generated several profitable leads from the experience.

Daniel Smith yesterday shared this insight on how he saved four of eight fall-through sales in the last three months -- and built incredible good will for three of the remaining cancellations.
Having obviously blogged before, I know the challenge of always finding new ideas to share. I thought you might be interested in hearing about a guerrilla marketing tactic that I have been testing in my Strokes of Genius Painting work, with great results.
Basically, the tactic is designed to deal with the inevitability of clients who decline my services after an estimate, or worse, cancel a booked job because of family issues, illness or some other health/personal issue.

What I have started doing is this: When I receive news like this, I go out and buy a 20 dollar pre-wrapped basket of chocolate and coffee or some such, and then leave it on the client's doorstep with a business card that has a sympathy note written on it.

The true beauty of this is that it is a two-pronged tactic. Firstly, if the customer is telling the truth, and I assume they are, it reflects the concern I genuinely feel for them, and you can bet that when the storm passes, they will remember me. Secondly and by contrast, if a customer ever stoops as low as to fabricate such a health or family issue out of thin air (and believe me, it happens more than you would think), these "bad" clients are made to feel every bit as ashamed as they ought. (And the 20 dollar expense is still worth it, to me.)

I've been doing this since August and so far I have saved four sales this way, three of whom I think were telling the truth and one of whom I have a hunch was fibbing . . .

And was guilted into changing their mind!
I asked him to clarify the numbers. He says of the eight people he provided gifts to, four signed up to complete the work and three called to thank him for his generosity. "And the lack of response from the 8th provides a bit of smug satisfaction as I'm quite inclined to think I caught them in a little white lie . . ."

Thoughtful, human gestures are always helpful and there is something to be said for taking things at face value. If someone says there is a death in the family, or a job loss, or a serious illness, there may well be one -- in which case you don't really want the job. In others, as Daniel indicates here, the client is telling you a white lie to get out of the commitment but (if fundamentally honest) will have second thoughts about the lie when you show respect. In part, this is because you are mapping out your personal integrity and showing, by your behaviour, you are not a "hit and run" contractor.

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